Recognised by millions around the world for his work on ‘The Weakest Link’, many will not have recognised that Jon Briggs – a British voiceover artist – is also ‘Daniel’, the male voice behind Apple’s new virtual assistant Siri which launched with the company’s new iPhone 4S smartphone.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Briggs revealed that a public relations representative from Cupertino-based company called him shortly after the launch of the iPhone 4S to ask the artist to not publicly talk about his work on Siri and the products on which it was used.
With the Apple PR representative noting “we’re not about one person”, Briggs indicated that whilst he was indeed the voice behind the assistant, he had recorded the thousands of words, phrases and sentences behind the British Siri assistant six years previous and had no formal contract with Apple.
The Telegraph explains how Briggs’ voice became one of the most recognised in technology today:
He recorded 5,000 sentences over three weeks for a firm called Scansoft. In 2005 it merged with a company called Nuance, which now provides the voice recognition technology for Siri.
The same set of recordings is also used to create the announcements at Kings Cross railway station, among many other applications. Mr Briggs received one-off payment for the recordings and only discovered he was the voice of Siri when he saw it the software demonstrated on television.
Briggs said that he had to speak words in a very specific way, reading “flat and even”, allowing the company to “take all the phonics apart”, because the assistant needs to be able to “read anything you want, even if I’ve never actually recorded all those words.”
Apple uses a number of different personas according to your location, with Briggs’ ‘Daniel’ loading as a default personality on iPhone’s sold in the UK and other regions.
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